They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so perhaps an audiobook is worth a thousand pictures. Audiobooks are the newest wave of learning—allowing you to learn on the go, while cooking dinner, or even while working out. They allow people with busy lifestyles to stay in the loop. They allow people with long workdays to keep learning. They allow people with lots of manual work to keep their minds sharp.
Audiobooks are the future of books—but how do you listen to them? While there’s several different ways, two of the most popular audiobook platforms are Scribd and Audible. If you’ve been on the internet, you’ve likely heard to these two—but which one is better? You don’t want to get into a subscription, just to find out you can’t listen to the books you want to, or that they don’t have your favorite series. Let’s dive into our review to see which is better for listening to audiobooks, Scribd vs. Audible.
Scribd vs. Audible: Meet the Sites
Scribd is a site that wants to “bring together the best of the written word to help readers become their best selves.” They have unlimited books to pick from, as well as audiobooks, documents, magazines, and even sheet music. They have selections from several major publishers, news sources, and major magazines, include Harper Collins, Entertainment, and Popular Science.
They allow you to download and stream audiobooks, easily skipping forwards or backwards, and placing bookmarks at important sections. Scribd is a monthly subscription, that you can cancel at any time. However, you no longer have access to your audiobooks once you unsubscribe.
Audible is connected to Amazon, and thus has almost every kind of books that you could find on that major site. They offer you one free audiobook of any sort every month (2 for Amazon Prime members on their first month)—and then full access to Audible’s Plus catalog. This Plus catalog includes podcasts, audiobooks, guided wellness programs, and Audible original books.
They have a massive selection of new and popular books, and allow you to listen in on almost any device, be it iOS, Android, Kindle, or anything related to Alexa. Audible is also on a subscription base, that you can cancel at any point. Since you are purchasing the books though, they belong to you, and you have access to them even after you cancel your Audible subscription.
Scribd vs. Audible: Pricing
As far as pricing goes, Scribd is cheaper. It costs $9.99 a month, and it offers a 30-day free trial. Your free trial could be even longer than that too—if you a refer a friend and they sign up, you get another 30 days free.
Audible costs a bit more, $14.95 a month. This gives you one free book from anywhere each month, as well as full access to their entire content library. Any additional books outside of that which you want to purchase have a 30% discount—and they often run sales on popular books for $5 each. With Audible, you do get to keep these books, even after your subscription service ends.
Audible also offers some special plans, if you’re only interested in a few things. To access just the Plus catalog is only $7, and they even offer an “Escape Plan” that gives unlimited access to thousands to romantic novels, including classics like Pride and Prejudice and Little Women.
Scribd vs. Audible: Ease of Use
Here’s where things get complicated—Scribd isn’t as unlimited as it seems. Scribd says they offer “unlimited selection,” which is true—but you can’t always access the books you select. Scribd allows you to read 2-3 of their new and popular books; but after that, you lose access to other titles with similar popularity until the next billing period. So you can read 2-3 of the most popular books in romantic fiction—but after that, you can’t read anymore from that genre, or at least not ones that are as well known. This number will reset in the next month—but it can be annoying, especially if you get bored of one of the books you picked half way through. Once you’ve hit that limit, your saved books will appear under a list that says “available soon,” giving the date when you can access them again.
This limiting method has also had some problems. Users have reported having titles restricted after reading only one book—or having a book restricted in the middle of reading it. And since you don’t own the books, once you cancel your subscription, you can’t read them anymore.
In contrast, Audible is straightforward. You get one free book, then full access to their catalog. If there’s something in their catalog you want to read, just purchase it (at a discount) and it’s yours forever. No limits, not choke points, no restrictions.
Audible is also easy to use on your phone. They have a widget that appears right on your devices screen, that lets you manage your audiobook. You can play or pause a book, skip forwards or backwards (extremely helpful when there are loud people or children around you!) and make a bookmark of important quotes, or chapters you want to come back to. You can do all of this from your notification screen—no need to unlock your phone and pull up Audible itself.
Scribd vs. Audible: Selection
Scribd offers a lot of popular books, especially from large publishers. They are partnered with Harper Collins, one of the “big five” publishing houses.
However, another one of those big five, Penguin Random Publishing House, recently pulled all of their materials from Scribd, which means some classics may not be there. Scribd has mentioned that they are adding new books regularly.
Scribd asks you about what genres and types of books your interested in, so you’re greeted by a selection curated for you every time you log in. The Top Charts feature shows this curated list of the most popular books and audiobooks for you. They include books on investing, biographies, and more.
Audible has a selection that’s almost as wide as Amazon is. They offer documentaries, comedy, journalism, kids, wellness, self-development, and even selections from Audible Theater. They add 20 to 30 new titles every month—not including new podcasts, and other Audible Plus content. From classics like Harry Potter to popular newcomers like Bridgerton, Audible has you covered.
Conclusion: Scribd vs. Audible
Both Scribd and Audible offer slightly different things. Scribd is cheaper, but has some complicated availability and some glitches, Audible is more expensive, but you actually own your books. I would personally go with Audible, just for the ease of use, and not having to keep track of how many books I’ve read so far! But both sites offer a free 30-day trial, so go try them out, and see which one is best for you!